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February 28, 2019

Letter from our Chair, Martin Loat, to Lord Hayward

Martin Loat, Chair of the Equal Civil Partnerships campaign group, has sent a personal letter to Lord Hayward expressing our concerns about the amendment and asking for its withdrawal.

“We have today noted your introduction of an amendment to the Civil Partnerships,
Marriages and Deaths (Registration etc) Bill, being taken through parliament by Tim
Loughton MP and Baroness Fiona Hodgson.

As you know, the ECP campaign group support what you are trying to achieve with same-sex
marriage in Northern Ireland. We believe in equal rights for all and wish you every success
with your aim of changing the law throughout the United Kingdom.

However, we do not believe that this particular Bill is the right vehicle for achieving this.
We believe, sadly, that, should your amendment be included in the revised Bill and pass
through the Lords, it will fail on its return to the Commons. The DUP will not allow the Bill
to pass in this amended form and the Conservative MPs will, therefore, also vote against it.

After having come so close to success, it would be awful if this Bill – which affects so many
lives in real and beneficial ways – were to fall at the final hurdle. Apart from the issue of
equal civil partnerships, the aspects of the Bill which provide for mothers’ names on
marriage certificates and which deal with pregnancy loss and still-birth will make a tangible
difference at these most joyous or the most difficult times of life.

So I’m writing to you – on behalf of our 145,000 declared supporters and literally millions of
other co-habiting couples – to ask you to withdraw your amendment and not jeopardise
mixed-sex couples getting the security and protection of the relationship of their choice.

Such couples include Joanna Christina and Steve Anderson from West Yorkshire who object
to marriage on principle. Steve has been diagnosed with an aggressive form of prostate
cancer and the couple are desperate to formalise their 30-year relationship before time
runs out. Should this bill fail, their chance of achieving this will evaporate.

The campaign for Equal Civil Partnerships would like to see Mr Loughton’s bill passed and as
you are a seasoned campaigner for equal human rights, we know you do too. Please help us
to achieve this.

Yours sincerely,

Martin Loat”

February 26, 2019

New Amendment on Bill – Please help us to ensure Bill is not derailed

Lord Hayward, a committed and principled champion of equal rights, has introduced an amendment to the Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration etc) Bill, due to reach its next stage in the Lords on Friday 1 March.  The amendment calls for same-sex marriage to be introduced in Northern Ireland  – a policy which the Equal Civil Partnerships campaign group wholeheartedly endorse as we suspect the vast majority of our supporters also do.

We are huge believers in #equallove, champion equality in all forms and individually members of the group – including Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan – have been vociferous and active in the campaign for same-sex marriage. However,  we are concerned that this Bill is not the place for that particular fight.

While we completely support the intention, were Lord Hayward to succeed in adding this to the Bill, there is no doubt that Conservatives in the Commons would vote it down, as they desperately need the support of the DUP who oppose equal marriage.  So an equal marriage for Northern Ireland amendment would do nothing to further this cause but could well have the unintended consequence of blocking equal civil partnerships, which Lord Hayward supports.

What can you do?

Write to Lord Hayward today at the House of Lords, London, SW1A 0PW or email robertahayward11@gmail.com and:

  • Urge him to withdraw his amendment before any vote
  • Express your support for equal marriage in Northern Ireland but ask him to find another means to press the issue

Also, please write to the following asking them to support the Bill without any further amendment:

  • Conservative Whips Office, House of Lords, London, Explain what a difference civil partnerships would make to you
  • SW1A 0PW (holgovernmentwhips@parliament.uk)
  • Labour Whips Office, House of Lords, London, SW1A 0PW coffmanb@parliament.uk
  • Lib Dem Whips Office, House of Lords, London, SW1A 0PW libdemlordswhips@parliament.uk

Do please also contact other peers that you have a connection with or that you know will be attending the debate and ask them to support the Bill with no further amendments.

We only have until Friday 1st March to persuade Lord Hayward not to press his amendment or to ensure he is unsuccessful if he does, so please write today.

The full text of the amendments can be found here